Doug Wilson: “I Have Faith in the Bible,You Have Faith in Reason”

22 Dec
Courtesy of John Loftus’ post.
The old mantra “I have faith in xyz pet superstition, you have faith in science/reason” is black and white thinking in its most absurd and transparent formulation.
The reason it is black and white thinking is due to simple probabilities. Imagine having to choose between picking a revolver that had one bullet chambered out of six and another revolver that had five bullets chambered out of six. Which one would you choose, if you had to pick one to play Russian Roulette? Obviously, any rational person would pick the one chambered revolver. If they wanted a high probability of living, anyway.
But for people who are trying to denigrate science to “level the playing field”, so to say, between science and religion, no such distinction between the two revolvers is valid. The two revolvers are “equal” because both are being chosen on “faith”. Not only is the religionist denigrating science, they are denigrating fundamental mathematical concepts; they are denying the existence of math altogether. No, 1/6 is not equal to 5/6. 1% is not equal to 99%. No, you can’t divide by zero. But in order to make faith respectable, they have to make math completely disrespectable. It’s not even science they are disgarding, but math; they have to upend math before they even get to the point of upending science.
It’s not about faith. It’s about probability. I would place a less than 1% chance of faith claims being true; less than 1% chance of the supernatural being the correct explanation for anything we are attributing to it. I would place a 99% chance of scientific claims being true. And we should start getting religionists to do the same: The next time a religionist claims that you have faith in science, or in reason, and they have faith in the Bible, or the Koran, or what-have-you, and begin intimating that they are the same because it’s “all faith”, get them to put their money where their mouths are. Ask them, first, if they believe in probability. Then ask them whether they think all probabilities are equal. Then, ask them to assign probabilities to both the success rate of science in explaining the world and the success rate of their religion in explaining the world.
Hopefully, that line of questioning will pull the curtain up on their denigration of basic math and logic. Not all “faiths” are equal.
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Posted by on December 22, 2011 in apologetics


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